China imposes confinement on half a million people near Beijing

China imposes confinement on half a million people near Beijing

© Reuters / C.G. Rawlins
Health worker at covid-19 testing center in Beijing

China on Sunday imposed a strict blockade on nearly half a million people in a province outside the capital, Beijing, to contain a new outbreak of coronavirus, when authorities warn that the outbreak is still “serious and complicated.” “.

After China virtually controlled the virus, hundreds of people were infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.

Health officials said on Sunday that the canton of Anxin – about 150 kilometers from Beijing – would be “completely closed and controlled” and the same stringent measures would be imposed as those implemented at the height of the pandemic in Wuhan city earlier this year.

Only one person from each family will be able to go out once a day to buy essential items, such as food and medicine, Anxin’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.

The move is determined after another 14 cases of contagion have been reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, bringing the total to 311 since mid-June and causing tests to be carried out on millions of residents.

The outbreak was first detected in the large wholesale market in Xinfadi, Beijing, which supplies much of the city’s fresh produce, raising concerns about the safety of the food supply chain.

Nearly a third of the cases so far are linked to a section of beef in the market, whose workers have been quarantined for a month, local officials said.

About 12 cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in Anxin – including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the newspaper reported. Global Times.

The new cases in Beijing have sparked fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.

The capital has conducted mass testing of workers in wholesale markets, restaurants, residents of medium and high-risk neighborhoods and delivery of goods in the past two weeks.

At a news conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.

The tests have now been expanded to include all of the city’s hair and beauty salon employees, Global Times.

Beijing prefectural representative Xu Hejian told reporters on Sunday that “the epidemic situation in the capital is serious and complicated”, warning that the city needs to continue tracking the spread of the virus.

City officials have asked people not to leave Beijing, schools have been closed again, and dozens of housing developments have been isolated in an attempt to end the virus.

But Wu Zunyou, a leading epidemiology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters last week that the new outbreak was “controlled”, and authorities lifted a week-long blockade imposed on seven Beijing districts on Friday. -market.


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